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How to Put WordPress in a Read Only Mode for Migrations and Maintenance

Are you ready to take your WordPress website on a journey?

Just like preparing for a long road trip, you need to put your site in a read-only mode before setting off for migrations or maintenance. Think of it as locking your doors and windows while you’re away, ensuring no unwanted changes occur.

In this article, we’ll guide you through the process of putting WordPress in a read-only mode seamlessly. From backing up your data to implementing a custom message and disabling user interactions, we’ve got you covered.

So buckle up and get ready to learn how to keep your site safe and secure during your WordPress adventure. Let’s dive in!

Why Use Read-Only Mode for Migrations and Maintenance

You should consider using read-only mode for migrations and maintenance in WordPress to prevent any changes or data loss during important transitions. Read-only mode is essential for ensuring the safety and integrity of your WordPress site during migrations or maintenance activities.

By implementing read-only mode, you can lock down your site and prevent any modifications or updates from occurring while the transition is taking place. This is particularly important during activities such as moving to a new host or server, upgrading WordPress, or installing a new theme.

By activating read-only mode, you can ensure that the content and data on your site remain unchanged and protected. To enable read-only mode, you can use plugins or custom code, such as a lock user account plugin, to disable user-initiated database writes and temporarily disable user registration and commenting features. This will prevent any unintentional modifications or data loss during the migration or maintenance process.

Backup Your Database and Files

To ensure the safety and integrity of your WordPress site during migrations and maintenance, the crucial step you should take before implementing a read-only mode is to backup your database and files.

This is essential to protect your data and ensure that you can restore your site if anything goes wrong during the process.

Backing up your database involves exporting a copy of all your site’s data, including posts, pages, settings, and user information.

Similarly, backing up your files entails creating a copy of all the files that make up your WordPress installation, such as themes, plugins, and media uploads.

Implement Custom Message on Old Server

To implement a custom message indicating the read-only status on the old server, follow these steps:

  • Access the WordPress theme files on the old server.
  • Open the header.php file of the active theme.
  • Insert the custom message code at the beginning of the file, just below the opening PHP tag.
* Custom message indicating read-only mode
echo '<div style='background-color: #f8d7da; color: #721c24; padding: 10px;'>This site is currently in read-only mode for maintenance or migration purposes. Please check back later.</div>';

This code will display the custom message on every page of the old server, informing users about the read-only status.

Make sure to save the changes and upload the modified file back to the old server.

Users visiting the site will now see the custom message, reminding them that the site is in maintenance or migration mode.

Disable User-Initiated Database Writes

To disable user-initiated database writes, you have a few options. One recommended option is to use a plugin or custom code. The ‘WP Read Only’ plugin is a popular choice as it easily enables a read-only mode for your WordPress site. With this plugin, users won’t be able to make any changes to the database, ensuring data integrity during migrations or maintenance.

Another option is to manually add custom code to your WordPress site’s functions.php file. By using the ‘wp_die’ function with a custom message, you can display a read-only notice to users attempting to make changes.

In addition to plugins and custom code, you can also consider implementing a database firewall or using database settings to restrict write access. These methods effectively disable user-initiated database writes and help maintain the read-only mode for your WordPress site during migrations or maintenance.

Temporarily Disable User Registration and Commenting

To temporarily disable user registration and commenting, you can take the following steps:

  • Use a plugin: Install and activate a plugin like Disable Comments or Disable Comments WPCode snippets to completely disable comments on your site. These plugins provide an easy and efficient way to globally disable commenting functionality.
  • Lock user accounts: Utilize a plugin or custom code to lock user accounts and prevent new user registrations during the read-only mode. This ensures that no new users can register or comment on your site while it’s in maintenance or migration mode.
  • Disable comment forms: If you don’t want to use a plugin, you can manually disable comment forms by editing your theme files. This involves removing the code that generates the comment form in your theme’s template files.

Redirect Users to Static Version of the Site

You can redirect users to a static version of the site during migrations and maintenance by utilizing various methods.

One option is to use the Lock User Account plugin, which allows you to temporarily lock users out of their WordPress accounts and redirect them to a static version of the site. This ensures that users can still access the site and view its content, but they won’t be able to make any changes or interact with the database.

Another option is to use the SeedProd plugin, which allows you to create custom maintenance pages and redirect users to a static version of the site during maintenance.

Thoroughly Test and Monitor the Read-Only Functionality

Ensure proper functionality of the read-only mode by thoroughly testing and closely monitoring the website during the migration and maintenance process. This step is crucial to identify any issues or unexpected behavior that may arise when the site is in read-only mode.

Here are three important tasks to consider during testing and monitoring:

  • Test user interactions: Simulate various user actions, such as submitting forms, commenting, and registering, to ensure that these functionalities are disabled as intended in the read-only mode.
  • Monitor website performance: Keep a close eye on the website’s performance metrics, such as page load times and server response times, to ensure that the read-only mode doesn’t negatively impact the user experience.
  • Check plugin compatibility: Test the compatibility of any plugins used on the WordPress site with the read-only mode. Some plugins may not function correctly when the site is in read-only mode, so it’s important to identify and address any compatibility issues.

Verify Functionality of New Server and Enable User Interactions

After migrating your WordPress site to a new server, it’s essential to verify the functionality of the new server and enable user interactions.

To do this, first, ensure that the maintenance mode or read-only mode is disabled on the new server. This will allow users to access and interact with your WordPress site.

Test various user interactions such as logging in, registering, commenting, and submitting forms to ensure that they’re functioning correctly. Additionally, check if database writes are working properly by creating, editing, or deleting content.

It’s crucial to update any hardcoded URLs or configurations that reference the old server to avoid any potential issues.

Once you have confirmed that the new server is functioning correctly and user interactions are enabled, communicate the successful migration to users and remove any read-only status messages for a seamless user experience.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Do I Make WordPress Read Only?

To make WordPress read-only, you need to take a few steps.

First, back up your database and files for safety.

Then, display a custom message indicating the read-only status on each page of the old server.

You can use plugins or code to disable user-initiated database writes and temporarily disable user registration and commenting.

Consider redirecting users to a static version of the site during migration.

Plan ahead, test thoroughly, and monitor closely.

Once the migration is complete, enable user interactions and remove the read-only status message.

How Do I Put My WordPress Site in Maintenance Mode?

To put your WordPress site in maintenance mode, you can use plugins like ‘Maintenance Mode’ or ‘Coming Soon Page.’ These plugins allow you to display a custom message to your visitors while you work on your site.

You can also temporarily disable comments and form entries to prevent any user interaction. Remember to test the functionality and monitor your site closely during maintenance.

Once you’re done, simply deactivate the maintenance mode plugin to restore full access to your site.

How Do I Take My WordPress Site Down for Maintenance?

To take your WordPress site down for maintenance, you can follow these steps:

  1. First, make sure you have backups of your files and database.
  2. Implement a custom message on each page to indicate the read-only status.
  3. Disable user-initiated database writes, comments, and user registration features.
  4. Consider redirecting users to a static version of the site.
  5. Test the read-only functionality and make sure everything is working as expected.
  6. Monitor the site during the maintenance period to ensure there are no issues.
  7. Once the maintenance is complete, remove the read-only message and restore the site to its normal state.

Remember to take these precautions every time you need to perform updates or make major changes to your WordPress site. It will help prevent any unwanted modifications and ensure a smooth maintenance process.

How Do I Put WordPress in Maintenance Mode Without Plugins?

To put WordPress in maintenance mode without plugins, you can use the built-in ‘Maintenance Mode’ feature. Simply access your site’s files via FTP, locate the ‘wp-config.php’ file, and add the following code:

define(‘WP_MAINTENANCE_MODE’, true);

This will display a maintenance message to visitors while preventing them from accessing the site’s backend. Remember to remove this code once maintenance is complete.

This method is simple, effective, and doesn’t require any additional plugins.


In conclusion, putting your WordPress website in a read-only mode is crucial during migrations and maintenance to prevent unwanted changes. By following the steps outlined in this article, such as:

  • Backing up your data
  • Implementing a custom message
  • Disabling certain features
  • Redirecting users

You can ensure the safety and security of your site.

Additionally, thorough testing and monitoring are essential to ensure a smooth transition. Once the migration is complete, verifying the functionality of the new server and enabling user interactions is important to revert back to normal.

How can WordPress be put in read-only mode for migrations and maintenance?

Putting WordPress in read-only mode during migrations and maintenance offers several benefits, including minimizing impact on SEO, easier management of database and theme/plugin updates, guaranteeing data integrity, and effective communication strategies. This can be achieved by locking user accounts using the Lock User Account plugin, customizing error messages for locked users, disabling comments and contact forms to prevent data loss, and creating attractive maintenance pages with the SeedProd Page Builder. Following these steps helps ensure a smooth website management experience, safeguarding data and content while providing a seamless experience for visitors.

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